The March 2017 issue of the Apis Information Resource News has been published. It contains information on the importance of names and issues surrounding bias based training, history of the ABRC, and remarks about the future of the World Wide Web.
An alert reader sent me a report that Argentine ants are now in Chattanooga, Tennessee and appear to be moving north. Established in California and across both Georgia and Florida, this ant apparently first appeared in New Orleans. It turns out the folks there objected to “New Orleans ant,” and so “Argentine ant” became the standard moniker.
This reminds me of the history of Africanized honey bees, originally called “Brazilian.” The name was objected to by Brazilians, so it reverted to “African,” which produced a hybrid many of us now call “Africanized.” The name has finally morphed to simply AHB in many circles, providing a much less sensationalized epithet than either “African,” or worse, “killer” bee.
The “killer bee” story may in fact have been one of the first examples of what is now known as “fake news.” As one blogger writes, “The line between deliberately manipulating a story or poorly reporting the facts is perilously thin, and often based on the subjectivity of the reader,” and I would also add, the writer, concluding that “Bees shouldn’t become the next ‘fake news’ victim‘ ” . In summary, honey bees are not well served by oversimplifying what are extremely complex issues.
It has been observed that the report referenced above has its own biases, which in fact is one of the most critical issues we all have to confront, our own predispositions. Two articles in this month’s The Atlantic magazine are germane to the discussion. The first concerns biases that psychotherapists bring to their practices and the potential use of “big data” to show them what they don’t know and are missing when treating patients. The other, “Why Silicon Valley is so Awful to Women,” concludes, “The idea that everyone holds biases and that there’s nothing wrong with them is a core tenent of un-conscious-bias training.” There turns out to be a huge literature on this subject, including a number of software applications and computer apps designed to ferret out the offending biases and show them to users.
Joe Traynor’s latest newsletter provides a tongue-in-cheek discussion of bias in several forms in his discussion of “ After” vs. “During.” He sent a correction to his original letter concerning the March 2017 pollination season that also looks at thrip control in nectarines and fungicide effects on honey bees among other issues.
Worth a look is the latest information in a Catch The Buzz on the American Bee Research Conference (ABRC) meeting in conjunction with the North American Beekeeping Conference and Trade Show held January 2017 in Galveston, Texas. The organizers wrote: “We kicked off the conference with a great historical presentation from our first plenary speaker Dr. Jeff Pettis (University of Bern). He briefly spoke about the history of AAPA (American Association of Professional Apiculturists) and ABRC and it is worth noting here the names of those who started it all: John Harbo, Eric Mussen, and Malcolm Sanford.”
There’s much more to the story of the acronyms listed above, as well as many more people, whose ideas contributed to both, which I wrote back in 2005 as part of a report on the first combined meeting of the American Beekeeping Federation and the American Honey Producers in Reno, Nevada. The conclusion, however, by all those involved in developing the AAPA and ABRC is that both have exceeded expectations in their their goals, as well as execution over the years. The full abstracts of the 2017 conference are available on the Bee World website.
The future of the World Wide Web concerns me. I was one of the first to put information on Bitnet, which was a precursor to the Internet. Before obtaining a personal computer, I trudged across campuses to compose a beekeeping newsletter on a clunky mainframe at both the Universities of Florida and Bologna.
When the browser was developed and quickly thereafter linked to computers using hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) by Tim Berners-Lee, I joined those, including pioneer beekeepers like Andy Nachbaur, who never looked back. The text introducing the current version of this newsletter celebrates that in 1994, the story of my then Apis Newsletter was featured in the FARNET publication, 51 Reasons: How We Use the Internet and What it Says About the Information Superhighway, the lobbying document used to educate the U.S. Congress about the value of the National Information Infrastructure (NII), which finally resulted in both the Internet and World Wide Web.
Mr. Berners-Lee, who apparently did not benefit financially in any major way from “inventing the Internet,” has now developed a program to “save” it. He sees the creature he created suffering from various unintended consequences, many caused by commercialization of this resource that was first constructed using federal funding.
He concludes: “It has taken all of us to build the web we have, and now it is up to all of us to build the web we want – for everyone. The Web Foundation is at the forefront of the fight to advance and protect the web for everyone. We believe doing so is essential to reverse growing inequality and empower citizens. You can follow our work by signing up to our newsletter, and find a local digital rights organization to support. Additions to the list are welcome and may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
See the full post here.